Insulin is a hormone that’s produced by the pancreas which is vital for the blood glucose control. What it does is enabling transfer of the sugar from the blood into the cells where it’s used for energy.
But, if the cells are insulin resistant, they are not able to use the hormone properly, leaving the sugar in your blood.
When your pancreas detects high blood sugar levels, it produces more insulin to beat the resistance and lower the blood sugar. However, this can eventually lead to depletion of the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin, causing type 2 diabetes.
What’s more, constant high blood sugar can damage different organs and nerves in your body.
Common risk factors for insulin resistance include genetics, prediabetes, and obesity.
Insulin sensitivity indicates how responsive the cells are to this hormone. So, if you improve your insulin sensitivity, it means you’ll reduce your insulin resistance as well as the chances of developing diabetes and many other diseases.
But, how to improve your insulin sensitivity?
Stress increases your insulin resistance by stimulating the production of glucagon and cortisol. These stress hormones break down the form of stored sugar called glycogen into glucose which enters your blood.
This, in turn, increases the levels of glucose in your blood. Constant stress can reduce your insulin sensitivity, so it’s crucial that you avoid stressful events or at least learn how to deal with it.
For example, you can try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, or sleep and see what works best for you.
Exercising on a regular basis helps move sugar into the muscles, storing it and increasing the insulin sensitivity right away. Even though the duration depends on the exercise, it can last from 2 to 48 hours.
It’s best to combine resistance and aerobic training, according to studies.
Lack of sleep reduces insulin sensitivity over time, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. One study shows that getting just 4 hours of sleep at night can reduce your body’s ability to control blood glucose.
Great sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, legumes, flaxseeds, fruits like oranges, and veggies like Brussels sprouts.
Excess stomach fat promotes insulin resistance in the liver and muscles. In fact, research proves that stomach fat is related to lower insulin sensitivity. So, to lose some stomach fat and improve insulin sensitivity you should lose a few pounds.
This will help you prevent prediabetes from progressing into type 2 diabetes.
However, don’t overeat them. Eating 1-2 pieces per sitting and two to five servings a day is enough.
This spice contains plant compounds which help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar. According to studies, it does this by making the glucose receptors on muscle cells more available and better at transporting sugar in cells.
This vinegar improves the effectiveness of insulin, thus increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels. What’s more, it gives the body more time to absorb the sugar. So, why not give it a try?
A research discovered that green tea improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose levels. That’s because it contains the potent antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which helps increase insulin sensitivity.
According to animal studies, high intake of trans fats leads to insulin resistance and poor blood glucose control. Also, they are a risk factor for developing diabetes and other diseases.
Still, some studies couldn’t prove the same results, so more research is needed to determine the exact effects in humans. Foods high in trans fats include doughnuts, pies, and fried fast foods.
Crabs raise the blood glucose levels by stimulating insulin production in the pancreas. Therefore, you can reduce and spread your carbohydrate intake evenly during the day to ease the job of insulin and improve insulin sensitivity.
Eat smaller portions of low GI carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and some types of oatmeal.
Added sugar is different from natural sugars. They are found in highly processed foods, and the two most common types are table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. They contain around 50 percent fructose which can increase insulin resistance in those with or without diabetes.
Some of these foods include cakes, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, pastries, and cookies.
The best supplements for improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels are magnesium, chromium, resveratrol, and berberine. However, consult your doctor before taking any of them, especially if you take medication.
Here are the best foods that will help you improve insulin sensitivity:
Try to avoid the following foods:
Following these lifestyle and diet tips will help you improve your insulin sensitivity, thus control your blood sugar levels more efficiently and keeping you away from diabetes and diabetes complications.